A poster on this board made a post that the mods themselves note is apparently racist. Said poster has not only attempted to give any other possible meaning, but flat out says they know they’d be banned if they said it directly. However, that same note says that the poster has not broken any rules.
I say this is a problem. Being deliberately racist is Being a Jerk, which is against the rules. Just like being deliberately misogynistic or deliberately homophobic. The fact that the OP used weasel words to not say it directly shouldn’t matter, either. “I’m not touching you” posts of this type never escape moderator scrutiny. The poster clearly indicated that they believed they’d be banned for the sentiment they posted, and past history backs up that, had they said it directly, they’d have been modded.
There’s also a moral issue here: we presumably all believe racism is wrong. Does that not mean that we all have a responsibility to try and mitigate it when we have the power to do so? The reason I am writing this right now is that I have the power to address this, thus I have a moral obligation to try. I would argue that the SDMB has an obligation to deal with hateful actions that occur on its boards, and that mods who say they are against racism have the responsibility to try and deal with it in general as far as they can.
There’s also the appearance issue, which has historically also been an important consideration. There was this whole push to remove the appearance of misogyny, because that made women feel unwelcome, like the board is an old man’s club. Why should that apply only to women? Should someone who is black feel welcome here knowing that such clear and intentional racism against them explicitly will not be dealt with? Doesn’t that create the appearance of an old white people’s club? And doesn’t modding other lesser issues (e.g. political jabs) make it seem like racism is less important?
I’m not even necessarily arguing for any particular punishment here. I’m arguing that someone who knowingly slips in a racist crack like that, especially outside of any actual debate on racial issues, should be moderated in some way, to let them know that what they said is not acceptable on the SDMB, just like the vast, vast majority of spaces with civility rules. Surely all of the people in charge believe that racism is morally wrong and undesirable on this board.
You guys moderate things you personally think are jerkish all the time, even if there isn’t an explicit rule. This, IMO, should be one of those times. “Ain’t no rule” is rarely the best argument.
I don’t like writing these things, because I know that they tend to create some sort of storm. But (1) I believe have the moral obligation I stated above to try and (2) I don’t believe it’s better to have a negative peace than to resolve an underlying problem. (3) I think this is a big enough problem that discussion among the board is required, not just PMs.
I know some would prefer my post be shorter, but the shorter versions would all make assumptions or, worse, likely make people defensive, which I don’t think is productive here.